Until the previous evening I hadn’t even heard of Speyer and discovering it turned out to be one of the highlights of my trip. After spending the morning exploring Worms I jumped on a train for the 35 minute journey to Speyer.
Arriving at Speyer I walked from the Hauptbahnhof along to the Altpörtel and Maximilianstraße, Speyer’s main street. Here the pastel coloured buildings of Speyer felt a lot more like “stereotypical” Germany than Worms or Mainz did. This may be due to it receiving much less damage during WWII than the other two cities.
I walked down Maximilianstraße from the Altpörtel to Speyer’s large cathedral (Kaiserdom). One of my motivations for visiting Speyer was its cathedral, stepping inside it rounded off my visit to the three Rhenish Imperial Cathedrals (Mainz, Worms, and Speyer). Speyer’s Kaiserdom was beautiful in its simplicity, the interior of the cathedral was very bright and large murals below the windows on the nave depicted various scenes from the bible.
Walking back outside I was able to see a Boeing 747 plane mounted high above Speyer’s Technology Museum. It was drawing me towards it, but first I walked a few streets behind the main street to find Speyer’s Jewish Museum. The museum holds an exhibit about the Jewish history of Speyer, the remains of a Romanesque Synagogue and a ritual bath. The story of Speyer’s Jews, unfortunately, ends in the same manner as the Jews of Worms with the entire community destroyed in the Holocaust. It wasn’t until 1996 that a Jewish community was reestablished in Speyer.
It was mid afternoon by the time I left the Jewish Museum and I was in deep internal argument with myself about my desire to visit the technology museum. The entrance fee was a little high for the small amount of time I had left in the day. I walked towards the museum and as I got closer I could begin to see the sheer size and quality of it that I went in. It turned out to be absolutely worth the entrance fee even for only two hours. (My next blog post will cover the museum itself.)
Once I left the museum the sun was beginning to set so I took a short walk along the Rhine and then headed back to the train station. Along the way I came across two war memorials, something that isn’t often seen in other parts of Germany.
After the previous night’s experience of trying to get a simple but good dinner in Worms I decided to go back to Worms via the larger city of Mannheim. To get from Speyer to Mannheim I had to change trains at Ludwigshafen. The station at Ludwigshafen is one of the most confusing I’ve been to, there was a complete lack of signage and in my confusion I went the wrong way and missed my connecting train – fortunately it was only a 15 or so minute wait for the next one.
The sky was a bright orange when I arrived in Mannheim and I hurried headed down to the river to take photos of the sunset on my last night in Europe. I then walked through Mannheim to find dinner and ironically after trying to find good food I ended up eating at McDonalds. Finally I returned to Worms for the night.